Attention molecular biology nerds: have you any experience with photoinitiation of acrylamide gel polymerization?
Our lab has an MJ BaseStation, which we purchased along with a ton of pre-packaged acrylamide, the kind that comes in an "instant ice-pack" style pouch. Said acrylamide includes a photoinitiator that lets us cast and polymerize a sequencing gel in less than 10 minutes. Very convenient, no need for APS/TEMED and long pre-runs on the sequencing machine.
Problem is, the pre-packaged stuff is getting old (4 years past the expiry date), and we're getting increased background noise compared to a fresh acrylamide that we polymerize the old-fashioned way. So, I'm looking to combine the best of both worlds -- fresh acrylamide that can be polymerized with a photoinitiator. Of course, we can buy a pre-made photoinitiator solution, but it's a bit pricey, and they won't tell us what's in it.
I've tried riboflavin, but it didn't work. This patent
claims that 1-hydroxy-cyclohexyl-phenyl-ketone works well as a photoinitiator. The only problem I can see is that its max UV absorbance is at 250nm
or so, while our UV box has its peak output at 312nm. For that reason, I thought 2-Methyl-4'-(methylthio)-2-morpholinopropiophenone
might be a better choice.
So, to make a long story short, has anyone used either of these for photopolymerization? Or have you used anything else that works reliably?